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Colombians celebrate Miss Universe title

  BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Carnival has come a few weeks early to the Caribbean city of Barranquilla where residents took to the streets on Monday to show their hometown pride after local beauty queen Paulina Vega was crowned Miss Universe. Even President Juan Manuel Santos took time out during an official visit to France [...]

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At Koch summit, Rand Paul splits with Cruz, Rubio

  WASHINGTON (AP) — Rand Paul is demonstrating how he could disrupt the Republican presidential field if he seeks the nomination, sparring with potential rivals over Iran, Cuba and the Pentagon’s budget in a face-to-face forum that offered an early preview of the feisty policy debate to come. The Kentucky Republican joined fellow first-term senators [...]

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Miss Colombia crowned Miss Universe in Miami

  MIAMI (AP) — Despite being a relative pageant newcomer, Miss Colombia Paulina Vega has been crowned Miss Universe, beating out first runner-up Miss USA Nia Sanchez and contestants from more than 80 other countries. At Sunday’s pageant in Miami, Vega, a 22-year-old student of business administration from Barranquilla, Colombia, said she would wear the [...]

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Cuban youth build secret computer network despite Wi-Fi ban

  HAVANA (AP) — Cut off from the Internet, young Cubans have quietly linked thousands of computers into a hidden network that stretches miles across Havana, letting them chat with friends, play games and download hit movies in a mini-replica of the online world that most can’t access. Home Internet connections are banned for all [...]

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Cuba digs in heels on concessions as part of better US ties

  HAVANA (AP) — The start of talks on repairing 50 years of broken relations appears to have left President Raul Castro’s government focused on winning additional concessions without giving in to U.S. demands for greater freedoms, despite the seeming benefits that warmer ties could have for the country’s struggling economy. Following the highest-level open [...]

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US works to ease Caribbean dependence on Venezuelan oil

  MIAMI (AP) — A decade-long addiction to oil subsidized by Venezuela may be coming to an end for several Caribbean nations, with a nudge from the United States. Fears that falling oil prices could knock the wheels off the already wobbly economy of oil-dependent Venezuela have sparked apparent interest in alternatives to Petrocaribe, a [...]

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Police investigated in case of dead Argentine prosecutor

  BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The 10 police officers assigned to protect a federal prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernandez of shielding Iranians sought in an Argentine terrorist bombing are being investigated for their actions on the day the prosecutor was found shot to death. The officers, along with two supervisors, are being looked [...]

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For first-time visitor, Havana is charming – and complicated

  Publishable Editors Notes: EDITOR’S NOTE: Bradley Klapper, who covered this week’s U.S.-Cuba talks on re-establishing diplomatic relations, offers a first-person perspective about visiting Havana for the first time.   HAVANA (AP) — Everyone warns you Old Havana is a facade, but it’s impossible not to be taken by its charms. In my hotel room, [...]

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Argentine president now says prosecutor’s death not suicide

  BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — President Cristina Fernandez made an about-face Thursday, saying she now is “convinced” prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s death was not a suicide just days after she suggested the man who accused her of protecting Iranians charged in Argentina’s worst terrorist attack had killed himself. In a letter published on social media [...]

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New Brazil ag minister bats down anti-environment reputation

  BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — New Agriculture Minister Katia Abreu, nicknamed the “chainsaw queen” by Brazilian environmentalists for what they call her promotion of deforestation, strongly rejected the criticism Thursday, calling it sexist since she’s the first woman to hold her post. Abreu told a small group of foreign reporters that she and her predecessors [...]

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Surprise! Magnets used to plant drugs under cars from Mexico

  SAN DIEGO (AP) — Drug smugglers are turning “trusted travelers” into unwitting mules by placing containers with powerful magnets under their cars in Mexico and then recovering the illegal cargo far from the view of border authorities in the United States. One motorist spotted the containers while pumping gas after crossing into Southern California [...]

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